By Samantha Nzessi
Tyrone Curry has a brick-and-mortar as well as a mobile store, selling CDs in various types of genres of music. We interviewed Tyrone at his downtown Brooklyn location and asked how long he’s been in this business and why.
TC: About 15 years. From a little boy growing up in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and going back and forth to work and not seeing cities versus neighborhoods, black males on the buses and the train, I always wanted to grow up and start my own small business in Bed-Stuy.
SN: Tell us a little bit about how difficult it could be as a self-employed person in a street environment and with a physical location store.
TC: I wouldn’t say “difficult” with respect to running the business itself; however, with the miseducation on how to run a business. The educational system teaches us how to be a good employee, AKA a good slave for the slave master, and I got tired of leasing out my skills because, no matter how much money I made per hour, I could never save up enough money to start my own business.
SN: So now that your own business is going, what is your plan of action to continue?
TC: I would like to be an example for those who come behind me. My daughter is now a student at Howard and I hope she will use the skills that she acquires at school and her job experiences as an apprentice to start her own business and not work for anyone else. Because you can’t start or maintain a community without having the small businesses that provide goods, services and jobs for the community. A greater percentage of people in our neighborhoods have to start opening up their own businesses so that we can start having communities instead of neighborhoods.
SN: How did you come up with the concept of making the “My God is Awesome” T-shirt?
TC: What inspired me to promote the “My God is Awesome” T-shirt is that it is a popular song and when I played it when promoting the CDs, there was such a response that people just kind of went into a trance. So I wanted a versatile product that would not be limited by adversity or race, so I took a calculated risk and invested in another small, black-owned business that sells and prints T-shirts and it proved to be a success.
SN: That’s great. How would you advise people that would like to get into independent business ownership?
TC: I would advise people to invest some of their time and resources into activities that promote cultural awareness. We don’t get this type of education and I learned a tremendous amount about image from Prof. Leonard Jeffries.
SN: What are your locations and hours of operation?
TC: My mobile sidewalk store is in downtown Brooklyn on the sidewalk in front of the McDonald’s adjacent to Macy’s. I’m here basically 10AM to 7PM, 5 to 7 days a week. I also run a brick-and-mortar store at 438 Marcus Garvey Blvd. from noon to 7PM, Wednesdays through Saturdays and eventually Sunday through Tuesday as well.